Know Your Colts History: Appreciating Kelvin (Part 1)

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Hopefully you've read Football Outsider's interview with Bill Polian by now, and if you haven't, I'd highly suggest reading it after you're done with this, so you can end on a high note.

Out of all the questions from the interview, I found this one to be the most interesting:

FO: What player improved the most, on any of your teams, compared to how good he was when you first acquired him?

Bill Polian: On our team here in Indianapolis, I would say cornerback Kelvin Hayden. 

Like Naptown's Finest points out, there's a lot of players that Bill could've picked here, so for Kelvin to be the one chosen by Bill says a lot about how far Kelvin has come since being drafted back in 2005.  In honor of Kelvin being chosen as the most improved player of the Polian regime, here are 10 things about Kelvin that make him one of my favorite Colts:

  1. Kelvin is an extremely versatile player.  In high school he spent time as a defensive back, quarterback, and running back.  Then in college he played wide receiver as well before switching full-time to defensive back.
  2. He started his collegiate career at Joliet Junior College as a wide receiver and only lost one game during his two seasons there.  In March, he was named one of the top 100 players in junior college history.
  3. According to his Colts.com bio, during his senior year at Illinois, Kelvin held Braylon Edwards (who went on to be #3 pick in the draft that year) to 3 catches for 18 yards.
  4. He swept Terrence Newman off of his feet...literally:
  5. Kelvin finished 10th among cornerbacks in tackles last season.  In order, here are the nine that finished above him: Corland Finnegan, Nate Clements, Cedric Griffin, Richard Marshall, Leigh Bodden, Marlin Jackson, Darelle Revis, Marcus Trufant, and Champ Bailey.  There's 3 Pro Bowlers among that group and several others with the potential to go to Honolulu in the coming years, not a bad list to be a part of.
  6. I've probably mentioned this before, but if he married that girl from Heroes, her name would be Hayden Hayden.
  7. Together with Marlin Jackson, he ushered in a much more physical secondary that helped the Colts become one of the top defenses in the NFL last season.
  8. In the two playoff games in which he's spent time as a corner, he has two interceptions.  Not bad.
  9. Speaking of playing corner in the playoffs, he sure picked a good time to have his first interception.  In case you forgot when it happened, here's a little remider:
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  11. Just think how many careers Kelvin affected with that INT.  He showed that Jason David was expendable, further doomed Rex Grossman's career, and he helped validate Peyton and Tony's career with one leaping, tight-rope catch.

As you probably noticed I put a (Part 1) in the title.  Next week in Part 2, sixteen more reasons (10 + 16 = Kelvin's number) why Kelvin Hayden is one of my favorite Colts.

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